From old school to new, Hardcore Punk has always been one of the most explosive music genres out there. As Punks meaner and more mature brother, Hardcore Punk builds on the DIY ethics, political and social messages, raw and aggressive sound of punk during the late 70s. (If you are looking for the breakdown rowdy hardcore bands then check out My Top 5 Straight Up Hardcore Bands as I feel there is a split within the genre.)
1) Gallows – Need I say more? For those who do, here it is. They are raw, aggressive and hate filled. From fiery Frank Carter to gruff Wade McNeil, Gallows have been able to keep me coming back for more of their chaotic sound. There is no subject too taboo as they have driven to write about political corruption and many more dark subjects that few venture towards. Grey Britain is one of the finest albums ever produced when its heavy agenda, depressing tone and unrelenting harshness got them kicked off Warner Bros record label after its release. The frantic and explosive guitar work of Laurent ‘Lags’ Barnard, and formerly Steph Carter, match the punishing bass tones of Stuart Gili-Ross to create the musical equivalent of an explosion from Orchestra of Wolves all the way to their self titled album in 2012. Amidst these elements are the pounding drums of Lee Barrat whose hard hitting beats keep moshers moshing and head bangers banging. Even though their sound has calmed recently in The Desolation of Sound it is still heavy and punk as fuck.
2) Cancer Bats – Many of you may dispute Cancer Bats being on this list as they blend heavy amounts of sludge metal into their sound, however at their core beats a hardcore punk heart. Their guitar riffs are filled with blistering squeals worthy of any sludge or thrash metal band but there is no denying the punk and hardcore sounds the rest of the band are bringing to the table. Liam Cormier rocks a harsh shout and in some songs such as Old Blood a spoken word styling reminiscent of Black Flag’s Henry Rollins. One of my personal bass heroes, Jaye R. Schwarzer, brings brutally overdriven riffs that add to their punky aggressive style of hardcore. They also play and record as a Black Sabbath tribute act called Bat Sabbath¸ what’s not to love?
3) Misfits – Okay lets ignore all the law cases over whose property Misfits belongs to, because you know nothing says punk like fighting for money. With that aside, there is no denying this guys are epic. From Denzig to Graves to Only, their horror and sci-fi inspired lyrics appeal to my inner movie nerd and their blend of punk, metal, rock and roll make them a must have on this list. The creators of the horror punk genre, the band brought corpse paint and devilocks to create their own unique identity in the hardcore/punk scene.
4) Black Flag – One of the pioneering bands in hardcore formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, California, Black Flag have become legends within the hardcore movement. Renowned for their extreme DIY punk ethics, Black Flag gave rise to the ‘do it yourself’ recording and releasing that many hardcore bands take for granted in the modern scene. Their cult following throughout the USA, Canada and Europe kept them constantly touring over the initial 10 years before their split in 1986. Songs such as Nervous Breakdown, Rise Above and Slip It In are a staple of any hardcore kids playlist, young or old. Keeping the pits alive with their ruckus live shows, powerful anti-authority lyrics and raw sound these guys embodied the genre.
5) Dead Kennedys – Well duh. Another pioneering band from hardcore punk’s early formation, Dead Kennedys made huge impact not only in the USA but the UK as well. Their album Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death has reached Gold status in the United States which is testament to their impact on the scene. Bringing politically and socially charged lyrics, Dead Kennedys have poked fun at governments, religion and the mainstream music industry to become a dangerous band in the eyes of those who disagreed with their incredibly revolutionary sound.
Other bands to look out for include:
Every Time I Die, Agnostic Front, Bad Religion, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Trash Talk, UK Subs, Youth of Today, Minor Threat, Cro-Mags, Discharge, English Dogs, FEAR, Gorilla Biscuit, Suicidal Tendencies, The Exploited, 13 Steps, Conflict, Charged GBH, Subhumans, Chaos UK, Feed The Rhino, The Ghost Of A Thousand, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes